When your child gets braces, it can require a lot of adjustments, not only for the teeth, but for the child and the parents as well. One such adjustment is food. Braces change what your child can eat and how they should eat. Here's a guide to help parents know what foods to offer and which to stay away from.
Choose Soft Foods
The teeth are very sensitive when the braces are first put on. Then every month, your teenager or pre-teen will have to go back to the orthodontist to have them tightened and adjusted, which causes further sensitivity. Soft foods will not only be more comfortable, they will also prevent causing any damage to the braces themselves. Here are a few examples to add to your grocery list:
- Hot cereals, such as oatmeal, cram of rice, and cream of wheat
- Breakfast cereal that isn't too crunchy or gets soggy in milk
- Pancakes, biscuits, and muffins
- Yogurt, cottage cheese, and puddings, which are a good source of protein and calcium.
- Jell-O and apple or cranberry sauce
- Fruit smoothies, malt, milkshakes, and ice cream are great in moderation.
- Fish and seafood products, like fish sticks or crab cakes, are easy to heat and eat. Poached or baked fish filets are another good choice.
- Ground pork, beef, and chicken can be turned into easy-to-eat meatloaves, meatballs, and casseroles. Serve with rice, noodles, mashed potatoes, and canned or steamed vegetables.
- Sandwiches made with soft bread and deli meats are a good lunch option. Avoid crusty breads.
Avoid Hard or Sticky Foods
Thankfully, the list of allowed foods is longer than those to avoid. Unfortunately, it includes a few of typical teenagers' favorite foods.
- Pizza is difficult to eat with braces. It's soft on top, but that crispy crust can be difficult and painful to maneuver. Serve deep-dish pizza occasionally and have them eat it with a knife and fork.
- Hard shell tacos are out for the same reason, but don't let them despair. You can serve theirs on a flour tortilla, over rice, or as a salad.
- Popcorn, potato chips, tortilla chips, nuts, and granola are all no-nos.
- Most candy, but especially caramel, licorice, gum, and chewy candies, like gummy bears, are also prohibited. To satisfy their need for junk food, occasionally buy puff corn or hard sour candies they can suck on.
While there are a lot of restrictions for braces, your child will still be able to enjoy a lot of foods they're already used to. Talk to clinics like Rosenzweig Orthodontics for more ideas of what they can or can't eat with braces.